Robert Sachs

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Every Tradition Needs a Heretic

December 13, 2010

Tags: Religion, Fundamentalism, Extremism, Terrorism

Probably since forever, people manage to take things in unintended directions. Take every world religion. Manifest Destiny, the Chosen People rap, jihad, gassing subway passengers, pogroms, gas chambers, assassinations, and inquisitions - all ideas, beliefs, actions taken by people who believe that how they see it is how it is and the annihilation of someone else is just part of a necessary divine plan.

How do we inoculate ourselves and our planet from whackos who manage to get a hold of media, political offices, and weapons of individual and mass destruction?

Sadly, I think that the mainstream of most traditions are too busy maintaining their market shares. thus to do the dirty work of taking people to task - I believe - has to be done by people with more foresight and backbone; heretics.

There is nothing more political than a religious organization. And most organizations are in the business of maintaining themselves. Their stodginess is - to my mind - the polar opposite to the fundamentalists that each tradition breeds. Thus to decry our take to task those with extremist views, even though it would seem to serve in preserving their legitimacy, is not a task those close to the fold wish to engage in.

Heretics are different from renegades, who might go the route of the fundamentalist or extremist whackos. heretics are more interested in accountability, keeping the word and thought of a tradition alive and real. Thus, while they are out making it difficult for those on one pole to stay asleep, they are - similarly - better equipped to help each tradition reign in those who terrorize us day in and day out.

For us as a planet to rid ourselves of the effects of fundamentalistic mania, we need to revive our traditions, bring them back on line to truly serve humanity. I do not believe that forces outside of these fundamentalisms and their faiths (i.e. governments) can really have much impact. This is an in-house job. And the ones that stir up the nests - the heretics - are just the right ilk of people to get the job done.

Selected Works

Medicine Buddha, Sangye Menla, Tibetan Medicine, Ayurveda
Helping to heal the Three Poisons that are the root of all our illnesses and suffering...
Autobiography, Philosophy, Self Help
A moving story that inspired Robert to put in print many insights and practices to help each of us to die more consciously and at peace.
Self-help, spirituality, Buddhism, death, dying, and bereavement
Shows how we can embrace dying and death with greater clarity, wisdom, power, and joy.
Astrology, Personal Growth
A system of astrology used over the centiries in Tibet, Japan, and China - easy to calculate, but profound in its possible applications for all facets of life.
Relationships/Self Help
A must for anyone seeking to practice the profound path of intimate relationships.
--Tsultrim Allione, author
Self-help, spirituality, Buddhism, relationships, marriage
Addressing the challenges to and rewards of developing deep love and cultivating lasting relationships
Current Affairs
Practical and transcendental wisdom that every concerned citizen and social and political activist needs to hear.